HAZLETON, Pa. — Jane Waitkus, senior instructor in English, recently retired from Penn State Hazleton.
She joined Penn State in 2000 and was hired to oversee the Learning Center at Penn State Hazleton in 2001. In 2010, she was promoted to senior instructor in English. She became coordinator of the First Year Experience Program 10 years ago, and more recently was chosen as the Penn State Reads coordinator for the Hazleton campus. The program encourages all first-year students to read the same book and participate in related planned events.
“Ms. Waitkus has been a true asset to our faculty and students. In particular, she was instrumental in the expansion of our tutoring center from a part-time operation to the full-time Teaching and Learning Resource Center it is today,” said Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Wright. The center provides tutoring to students in all subjects and is also a means for faculty to consult staff about the best way to serve students.
Under the direction of Waitkus and Jacqueline Walters, the Teaching and Learning Resource Center became the home of the Bridge to Academic Success retention program. Waitkus wrote three proposals for retention funds that were successfully funded by Future Fund initiatives at Penn State.
“As I retire, I am very grateful for the opportunity to have spent 16 years of my teaching career at Penn State Hazleton. The campus is a treasure for the Hazleton community and the surrounding region. I will certainly miss the students, and faculty and staff colleagues. And I will greatly miss teaching my favorite course, The Literature and Lore of Anthracite Coal Mining,” Waitkus said.
Throughout her time at Penn State Hazleton, Waitkus was an involved member of the Hazleton Faculty Senate. She served on various committees, was a vice president for two terms and, most recently, served as president for two terms from July 2012 to July 2014. Waitkus represented Penn State Hazleton to University College Faculty Council in 2008 and 2009. The council serves as the sole body representing the University College Faculty as a whole.
She received the Allan Allen award for faculty development while serving as a faculty member at Luzerne County Community College. She also earned a fellowship on a National Writing Project and helped create the Bridge to Academic Success program. In the program, Penn State Hazleton staff and faculty members work with students to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed in college, increasing retention at the campus and leading to greater student achievement.
Waitkus is also an elected member of Luzerne County Council. In her retirement, she plans to continue her involvement with county council, which includes representing the county at various events promoting Luzerne County. She will also continue her research regarding anthracite coal miners and their roots in villages in eastern and central Europe.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Misericordia University, a master’s degree in reading education from the University of the District of Columbia, and a master’s degree in English from the University of Scranton.